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Ultimate Ears In-Ear Reference Monitors Review - Page 36

post #526 of 593

So I finally jumped the gun. Long time ago I posted the question in this tread which dap /dac I should use with my UERMs since I was not fully convinced of the sound I was getting. As a temporarily and low profile solution I bought a ipod nano.

 

Since I had good experience with the Fiio E6 I also had a short affair with the Fiio E11. But where the E6 is a very cheap product with a ridiculously good price quality ratio the E11 is a product that is 3 times the price and takes all the weak points of the E6 to a magnitude of 3. Extreme channel imbalance at low volumes, a dark muffled sound, high noise floor and extremely sensitive to radio interference from my iphones. After half a year of use both the input and output connectors were having loose contacts.

 

Now after having doubted for a very long time between; audioquest dragonfly, centrance dac and dedicated daps like hifi man, Astel & Kern and the likes I finally decided for the JDS labs C5D. I have to admit to my shame that yet again I have not listened to the product beforehand since headfi gear is not readily available. Therefore my decisions were purely based on reviews and specifications.

 

I decided for the JDS based on its universal support of both Windows, Linux and ios devices. Another important point for me was the digital volume control to avoid future problems with channel imbalances. Compared to the Fiio E11 I am very happy with the build quality so far and there is absolutely no noize or hiss and it works like a charm with all my devices including the first iteration of the ipad.


Edited by bartus - 4/14/14 at 5:40am
post #527 of 593

I think I should update on my impressions.

UERM still sounds bit bright to my ears, but I still love them.

 

Nothing comes as resolving as they do. If you view other iems as enthusiastic musicians, think of UERM as a master musician that plays with ease and finesse. I do notice that peak that UERM has, so I'm not calling UERM the perfect iem. But it sure still holds it spot against new and multi(like 10 driver) iems. This spring, I sat down with SE846, IE800, UM 3DD, Ultrasone IQ, K3003i, LS8/+, JH13. None of them impressed me enough to ditch my UERM and get a new iem. 3 drivers, masterfully tuned. 

 

One unique thing about UERM is the treble. Even with so many drivers nowadays, many companies fail at getting the treble right. JH13 and IE800 did it right, but not that many others did. It's impressive. Almost 1yr into UERM, but I'm still loving them. I just wish these were universal fit. I don't like ciems.

post #528 of 593
I really have no desire for customs whatsoever but I loved the UERM...really wish they sold a universal version, like 1964 Ears is doing. I might opt for the V6 Stage if UE doesn't follow the trend by the time I can afford that level of earphone.
Quote:
Originally Posted by kimvictor View Post

I just wish these were universal fit. I don't like ciems.
post #529 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

I really have no desire for customs whatsoever but I loved the UERM...really wish they sold a universal version, like 1964 Ears is doing. I might opt for the V6 Stage if UE doesn't follow the trend by the time I can afford that level of earphone.

 

The UERM was designed for pro audio use but was abused by us audiophile for audio listening :)

post #530 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by uelover View Post
 

 

The UERM was designed for pro audio use but was abused by us audiophile for audio listening :)

Hey, I don't mind that.  If it's for pro audio and I like the sound, I have more confidence in the product.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gilly87 View Post

I really have no desire for customs whatsoever but I loved the UERM...really wish they sold a universal version, like 1964 Ears is doing. I might opt for the V6 Stage if UE doesn't follow the trend by the time I can afford that level of earphone.

I agree with this.  It was the universal I heard that I thought was fantastic, but the custom might be even better.


Edited by SilverEars - 4/20/14 at 7:44am
post #531 of 593

I've never heard the universal, but I can say with good confidence that the UERM is the clearest, cleanest, and most effortless sounding earphone i've heard.  I have never heard the SE846, but I have listened to several other's including the triple.fi10s, the UE-900s, several westone's, and the SE530 and 535.  Out of larger headphones I of course have my limited collection of a few lower end grados and the HD650s (which the UERMs are obviously much better).  I only briefly listened to my uncle's HD800s in balanced drive which from memory I can say were very similar sounding as far as neutrality and overall "style", However being full sized and being balanced the HD800s were obviously better in some ways.  I would have to AB them to really be more specific.

 

I would like to offer a very crude description as to why I enjoy the UERMs so much.  It is true that there are other more exciting earphones out there.  The JH13's have a 6db increase in the bass (quoted directly from Jerry Harvey himself), which makes them sound more alive and punchy.  The JH16s have a 12db increase in the bass (again quoted directly from Jerry Harvey) which gives them even more immersive musical depth and fullness to the tone.  This enhanced sound may be very exciting and fun to listen to but to me feels a little "detached" from reality.  Like a model on a magazine cover that's been photoshopped, it may be more aesthetically pleasing, but I love the tiny amount of realism that is gained from an unenhanced and possibly flawed sound.  

 

Now I know there's a lot of controversy as to the neutrality of the UERM due to the apparent roll off in the bass.  All I can say is this.  When listening to live music, bass frequencies fade out as they approach the threshold of audibility, that's just how human hearing works.  While the bass may roll off a tad early which would be subjective to everybody's ears, somewhere between 30-40 hz it does stay audible well below 20hz, so I don't think the roll off is too steep or severe, although my ears are somewhat bass sensitive.  I think UE and Capitol records tuned them this way due to loudness curves so that bass would sound more flat at moderate to high listening levels.

 

All in all yes, there are headphones that have better, bass, treble, mids, etc.  However, I feel as though the UERM is equally matched to itself throughout the entire frequency range, which gives it a cohesiveness that is somewhat rare, where everything locks in and gives a realistic image.  I thought this sensation would wear off, but after a few weeks and sampling all different kinds of music, all I do is notice this effect more and more.  I understand the UERM sound may not be for everyone, but I can't get enough of the "real" sound that's coming from these things.

 

Do I think the UERM is the most perfect headphone ever?  Do I think they have the best bass, mids, and treble of any earphone? No of course not.  What I do think is that their bass, mids and treble are tuned to work together as a whole, to give a very very realistic and cohesive image with excellent soundstage and headroom, better than most that I've listened to.


Edited by Joelc87 - 4/21/14 at 10:33am
post #532 of 593

There's a part of me that really would like to have a pair of these in my collection - and for what you get - $999 is a steal. Are they made in California? And can you have them do impressions?

 

God, I'm talking myself into them...

 

Actually, for neutral-ish sound, my custom W4R's are really clean and punchy. I like their sound a great deal.

post #533 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post
 

There's a part of me that really would like to have a pair of these in my collection - and for what you get - $999 is a steal. Are they made in California? And can you have them do impressions?

 

God, I'm talking myself into them...

 

Actually, for neutral-ish sound, my custom W4R's are really clean and punchy. I like their sound a great deal.

 

Do it.

 

(Though keep in mind that it'll have less bass than anything else in your collection)

 

But they are made in California.

post #534 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post
 

There's a part of me that really would like to have a pair of these in my collection - and for what you get - $999 is a steal. Are they made in California? And can you have them do impressions?

 

God, I'm talking myself into them...

 

Actually, for neutral-ish sound, my custom W4R's are really clean and punchy. I like their sound a great deal.

The best way to buy them is to attend a So Cal Head-Fi meet up. They bring an audiologist and do the impressions at the show. Often they offer a show discount. I know they also do impressions some Thursdays in Hollywood, through their 'artist services' storefront. It's good to have them responsible for the impressions/fit.  

post #535 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Edwards View Post
 

The best way to buy them is to attend a So Cal Head-Fi meet up. They bring an audiologist and do the impressions at the show. Often they offer a show discount. I know they also do impressions some Thursdays in Hollywood, through their 'artist services' storefront. It's good to have them responsible for the impressions/fit.  


There is an LA meet pretty soon if I'm not mistaken - I couldn't get to the one at the Westin.

post #536 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivabign View Post
 


There is an LA meet pretty soon if I'm not mistaken - I couldn't get to the one at the Westin.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/714480/official-2014-la-head-fi-meet-august-9-2014-marriott-warner-center

post #537 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Edwards View Post
 

The best way to buy them is to attend a So Cal Head-Fi meet up. They bring an audiologist and do the impressions at the show. Often they offer a show discount. I know they also do impressions some Thursdays in Hollywood, through their 'artist services' storefront. It's good to have them responsible for the impressions/fit.  

I have had good luck when the manufacturer (or rep) has done my impressions - Brannan did mine for some HA reshells and they came out perfect - he may not be an audiologist, but he is a pro through and through. If you are considering Noble and are in California, you could do a lot worse.

post #538 of 593

I personally didn't think it lack bass or anything, I thought it's one of the clearest sounding iems I've heard.  I've A/B with others, and this was the sound that I was looking for.  I look for clarity and details, and this was it.  It was coming out of AK120 and 240, and either this made the AK sound great or it goes well with AK.  We know headphones provide more distortion than the source, first and foremost I can confidently say UERM is transparent.  I know color when I hear it, and there was little to no color to these.  

 

As for SE846, I returned them.  I don't think of them in the same level as UERM.  SE846 is like other iems that are out there, it has a signature, and I'm not looking for a signature sound, but accuracy and transparency, which the UERM obviously provides.  These are reference monitors!


Edited by SilverEars - 4/21/14 at 7:32pm
post #539 of 593
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I personally didn't think it lack bass or anything, I thought it's one of the clearest sounding iems I've heard.  I've A/B with others, and this was the sound that I was looking for.  I look for clarity and details, and this was it.  It was coming out of AK120 and 240, and either this made the AK sound great or it goes well with AK.  We know headphones provide more distortion than the source, first and foremost I can confidently say UERM is transparent.  I know color when I hear it, and there was little to no color to these.  

 

Exactly what I hear in these.  From song to song they change character and almost sound like a different earphone altogether. (not really but you know what I mean)  Bass isn't heavy, but it certainly isn't light either.  It's clean, clear, direct, with instantaneously quick punch.  The thing I notice the most with these is their secondary clarity.  Obviously the clarity of the primary sounds is very clear from top to bottom, but tiny echoes and reverberations from the room in which different sources are recorded are also very clear.  One of the things that bothers me about this (THIS IS NOT A FLAW) is that I can tell in most recordings that the vocals, drums, guitars, etc. were all recorded in different rooms, because they don't have the same ambient sounds.  Overall the transparency and realism in these is their greatest trait, as is their ability to disappear into almost any genre of music.  Hip hop thumps, voices sing, pianos are crisp and neutral (and don't have that flat muffled sound like they do in so many earphones)

post #540 of 593
Some pics of my new UERM. The blue side has a nozzle fit issue and will have to go back but otherwise pretty happy with them.



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